Oscar Pistorius, a track star who rose to fame in the London Olympics, stands accused of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp during a Valentine's Day dispute. He has been charged with premeditated murder.
The courts ruled on Tuesday that Pistorius should face the highest bail requirements available in South African law, almost assuring the track star will remain in jail.
"I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder as I had no intention to kill my girlfriend," Pistorius said in the statement.
Pistorius sobbed softly as his lawyer insisted that Steenkamp's shooting was accidental. The shooting has sent shockwaves across South Africa and many other countries across the world. Pistorius has been praised for overcoming adversity and becoming a sports champion, competing in the London Olympics last year in track and being a Paralympian.
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Steenkamp, 29, was a model and graduate of law school. She made her public debut on a South African reality TV program that was broadcast on Saturday, just two days after her death.
Pistorius' lawyer spoke on his behalf, as the Olympian was too upset to speak himself. According to witnesses, Pistorius cried and moaned so much during the hearing, the magistrate had to stop the proceedings and compel Pistorius to gather himself. Each time Reeva Steenkamp's name was mentioned, he broke down again.
In his official statement, Pistorius says he woke in the early hours of Valentine’s Day to hear loud noises in the bathroom. He goes on to say that a "sense of terror overwhelmed me." Thinking Steenkamp was lying in bed beside him, he was too scared to turn on the lights. He says he shouted for Steenkamp to call police, but he did not get an answer.
"Was it to kill her, or was it to get her out?" asked defense attorney Barry Roux while in the courtroom, referring a broken-down bathroom door. "We submit it is not even murder. There is no concession this is a murder."
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Pistorius, who had appeared grim and solemn during the beginning of the proceedings, placed his head in his hands, while his lawyer argued on his behalf.
According to police, Pistorus’ neighbors heard the sounds of a loud argument, then several gunshots.